A Magic Trick for Dolma Lovers

by Weam Namou


Dolma is in the air this week – literally. Three days ago, I stuffed two pots – actually three (the third pot is only red peppers), and I cooked one for dinner yesterday, as did my sister. One of the pots I’m keeping in the freezer for the near future. With dolma, it’s always good to have a backup.

At night, my husband read me an Iraqi joke someone posted on Facebook: “Americans teach that the normal time it takes to chew a bite is 30 seconds. For Iraqis, in the time it takes to close and open their eyes, you wonder where the pot of dolma has gone.” So here’s a magic trick, if you want to learn one. Just blink your eyes and poof! The pot of dolma will disappear.

That is probably why when my friend saw the picture of my pot of dolma on Facebook, she commented, “That’s the smallest pot of dolma I’ve seen!”

Here’s a little history about one of Iraq’s favorite cuisine, dolma, which by the way, its name is Turkish.
“The Arab world was under Ottoman rule for five hundred years, and the Turkish influence is seen in many preparations, such as stuffed grape leaves. But the stuffing of vegetables has its roots in the Arab cookery of the early Islamic empire of the Abbasids in Baghdad, possibly learned from the Persians. Ottoman chefs perfected the stuffing of vegetables, and today nearly everything that can be stuffed is stuffed.” —A Mediterranean Feast, Clifford A. Wright [William Morrow:New York] 1999 (p. 322)